January 28, 2010
I had the sense this place was trying for the wholesome-meets-sports-bar vibe with the chalkboard wall of specials and the cutesy casino theme. The overall space is fairly cramped, with a sit-down bar and many small corners packed with tables.
While our party of ten was seated quickly, it seemed like no real accomodations were made for parties over six or so.
While much of Lucky Lou’s selections seemed conventional American, there seemed to be a lot of gaps on the menu. All the sandwiches seemed to follow a basic theme, and there were few entrees. A large focus was on burgers, and much of the lunch menu was soup-and-small-entree offers. However, the narrowness in some sections was compromised with exotic appetizers, suggesting sports bar again: meat skewers and fried zucchini were tried by the others eating today.
I chose the fish special. It was three large, freshly-fried filets, served with a red-cabbage coleslaw and a vegetable selection. I asked for the steamed vegetables, as a fat balancer, and was saddened to see broccoli only. It was topped, for no aim save to make it fatty, with shaved cheese, but was otherwise fine.
Another diner ordered a salad, which was the size of a satellite dish; the main aim of the restaurant seems to be to overwhelm with size, not inexpensive offers. The lunch special (walleye) was over $12. It might work in Lou’s fancy Chandler area, but I’m a Mesa hick.
Our orders came out erratically, but the service was fairly fast. Drinks didn’t seem to be intensely monitored, but on a cold, rainy day, who wants more Coke?
While Lucky Lou’s doesn’t offer much to email home for now, it could improve easily– a little wider menu, a little healthier menu, and it would draw more easily.
August 23, 2009
My roommate and I decided to get lunch at Paradise Bakery around the corner from the apartment. I ordered the ham and brie grilled panini and he had the turkey and cranberry sandwich. We both had a side of their pasta salad and a cookie, that comes with every sandwich. Both sandwiches were ready just as we found a table. The service is excellent and prompt. The decor on the inside is what you would expect at any paradise bakery cafe. They offer seating outside as well as in. Although it was lunch time and the place was packed, the staff seemed to be on top of everything.
Not only do they serve great specialty sandwiches and baked goods for lunch and dinner, they also have a breakfast menu which they serve until 10am. Also in their bakery section they have several cookies and cookie cakes they can customize to your order.
In the past I have also had their chicken salad sandwich. The only thing I have against it is the walnuts. I don’t like when restaurants add either nuts or berries to their chicken salad. To me, it takes away some of the chicken flavor and adds unnecessary ingredients. Besides that I don’t have anything negative to say about their food. It is fresh and cooked as ordered.
After you order your sandwich you can add either pasta salad, salad, soup or additional cookies to your order. The set up is quite unique and seems to be efficient. I would recommend trying them if you haven’t already. The sit down Paradise Bakery setup is pleasant and comfortable with bar style tables, regular tables or even lounge type leather seats with built in mini tables. Give them a try!
August 14, 2009
With my cousin in town, I decided to bring her to my favorite restaurant. Upon entering, we were seated promptly. Our waiter was friendly and was always checking up on us. We ordered a lot of sushi between the three of us, as well as a few rounds of drinks. The service was a nice improvement from my last visit there and the sushi was great. She seemed to to enjoy the food and drinks, especially one of Kona Grill’s custom rolls, the shrimp tempura naruto roll. The naruto roll is composed of shrimp tempura and crab, wrapped in cucumber and topped with sprouts and a mild wasabi sauce.
We stuck around for one more round of drinks after finishing most of the sushi and walked off our meal around the mall for a bit after. Overall it was a fun night.
August 10, 2009
Of their five locations in the valley I have eaten at two. One in Scottsdale and one in Chandler. Both were equally as good and offered a nice variety of traditional dishes and some rather unique ones. The European/home-style feel can be seen throughout the restaurants from the architecture of the buildings themselves to the interior decor. But besides the look of the place, the food is great as well as the service. On both occasions the cafe was quite busy but the staff seemed to have everything under control.
I ordered a grilled cheese with 3 different cheeses and a clam chowder appetizer. My friend who joined me had one of their specialty sandwiches. Both were cooked well and did not taste as if their were from a chain restaurant. The waitress was pleasant to speak to and always kept an eye on our drinks. The majority of people eating there was mostly families, and a younger crowd. I haven’t been back to Mimi’s in a while and I have yet to have dinner there but I would definitely suggest you try it if you haven’t already.
Located on the border of Chandler and Gilbert is one of YC’s Mongolian Grill locations. The setup is similar to other Mongolian restaurants, where you pay as you enter and then select your raw food to be cooked. Being that it was my first time there I followed my friend’s lead. Basically stuffing as much raw meat and vegetables as you can fit into your bowl. The meat shrinks down probably over 50% as the chef prepares your meat/vegetable combination. Within minutes your food is cooked before your eyes. You can also add your own custom sauces to the food as well as reference their own recipes hung on the wall.
Once the chef gives you back your cooked bowl of food, you can also add some soup and other sides to your meal at another station. You also have access to unlimited fountain drinks and soft serve ice cream after you have found a table in the seating area. For people not wanting to eat in the restaurant they also offer to go containers.
My friend and I chose to eat there. The food was very good and not greasy. Even though the meats had shrunk I still couldn’t finish my bowl. While eating we also seemed to noticed the large amount of body builders and people coming arriving after working out at the gym or cycling there for a meal. This made sense due to the fact that no butter or oils are used in the cooking process. Just whatever you put in the bowl and water that the chef adds when preparing the food. I would recommend trying out Mongolian food if you have never had it before. It is a good alternative to Chinese food which can be filled with grease and MSG.
One thing I have learned since moving out to Arizona is that it is almost impossible to find good Chinese take-out or food in general. I unfortunately had to learn the hard way when I went to China King Buffet located in Chandler. Upon entering the restaurant I was bombarded with some Chinese woman promoting a Chinese theatrical event. Not only could I hardly understand her, I could barley hear a word she said with the live karaoke entertainment in the background. Hardly entertaining and mostly annoying, I denied buying tickets and preceded to be seated. After realizing that I would be exposed the their “live entertainment” for the entire duration of my dinner, I quickly decided to just order some take-out.
Returning about 15 minutes later, I paid the woman at the register, after having to deny buying tickets yet again. Finally returning to my apartment, my roommate and I realized that they had taken down our orders incorrectly. Being hungry we just sucked it up and ate. To our surprise the food was not half bad. At least that’s what we thought.
About an hour after eating we both had stomach aches and swore never to return to China King. I am still on the look out for good Chinese take-out almost 5 months later with no luck. I might just stick to Japanese.
Of their 15 location in the valley, I usually hit up the Chandler location just off of Chandler BLVD. Located right next door toThe Coffee Bean, its perfect for a breakfast bagel and coffee. Being a born and raised New Yorker, I thought good bagels would be hard to come by out here. Although not as good, Einstein Brothers comes pretty close. They offer several different varieties and other sandwich options.
My default order when it comes to bagels is a plain bagel, toasted, with chicken salad. You can have either chips or a few other selections of sides with your meal and it is priced well. Sometimes the chicken salad varies and can be better or worst than before but I am usually satisfied.
If you plan on going there on a Saturday morning, don’t plan on finding a seat. The place usually fills up quite fast and can sometimes have a line out the door. So I usually get my order and head next door to The Coffee Bean and eat there or just bring it back to my apartment. Also, drivers beware! The parking lot is kind of cramped and is usually filled with some of the worst drivers in Arizona. I have prob almost been hit or avoided an accident a couple times.
Overall I keep returning to Einstein brothers because of their quality bagels and location. They seem to be doing well in the valley and have just launched a new website. http://www.einsteinbros.com/
Yet again, I made my weekly pilgrimage to Kona grill. Just stopped by to have lunch and some drinks. Although the sushi was very good as usual the service was not as pleasing this time. The waiter seemed new and asked if I had ever been there before. I wanted to ask him the same question! He was hard to track down and didn’t even serve us our food. We basically had to flag him down to get us refills from the bar.
Besides the crappy waiter, the sushi rolls were awesome and I tried a roll I never had there before; a spider roll. The spider roll is basically a softshell crab roll. The batter used to fry the crab was very light and crunchy. Other rolls orderd were the crab crunch roll and the shrimp tempura naruto roll. Both were very good and were just enough to fill me up for lunch. On top of that we ordered some of their margaritas and custom drinks from the bar. Considering it was lunch on a sunday, the restaurant was pretty busy and we had to wait about 15 minutes to be seated. I hope the next time we don’t get stuck with the same waiter!
August 9, 2009
This weekend I was really in the mood for Italian food. After driving around Chandler, I found a great Italian place located right off highway 10 called Buca’s. Upon entering, the hostess takes you through the kitchen and shows you around the restaurant. There is even a booth you can eat at right in the kitchen itself. All throughout the restaurant is a ton of Italian flair. Tons of pictures and Italian memorabilia from all over Italy. Besides the lunch menu everything else is ordered to feed at least 2-6 people or al a carte. They push for group lunches, parties, birthdays, and offer unique discounts like getting a free cake on you birthday or treating your grandparents on their grandparents day. To keep track of all their deals they encourage you to take the paper place mat that has all the specials listed.
My friend and I just decided to order some things off the lunch menu. We started with the bruschetta, and a couple waters. The waiter was prompt and very friendly. For lunch I ordered the Spaghetti with meatballs in a marinara sauce, and my friend ordered stuffed shells over a Alfredo, marinara sauce mix. Both were good proportions and left me full. My friend said the stuffed shells were filled with a tasty ricotta, pesto, mozzarella stuffing and were baked to perfection.
Besides a loud party going on in the other eating area, the atmosphere was really cool and definitely accented the great Italian food. I would recommend this place if you not looking to spend a lot of money on some gourmet Italian place like Tomaso’s across the street. I plan on taking my parents there when they visit in October.
UPDATE: After paying Buca Di Beppo, I did have a few debit card issues with overcharging and various other charges to my card. I highly suggest that you pay in cash, I have heard that other people have also had issues with payment.
August 6, 2009
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Of their five locations in Arizona I usually hit up the Chandler location right around the corner from my apartment. I had always passed it before until one day I figured I would try it out. Since then, I usually go there once every couple weeks. They offer several different options from beef and chicken teriyaki bowls to a nice selection of sushi rolls. The portions are very good and the rolls are quality made. Although it is a chain, the sushi is not as cheap as you would think.
My favorite roll they offer is the crab crunch roll. It comes with crab and avocado, rice and a generous sprinkle of tempura crunch over it. You can even get the roll with shrimp tempura added. One of my friends really likes their Philadelphia roll and Dragon roll. But if your not in the mood for a beef or chicken bowl or even sushi, they also offer other noodle dishes.
You can make your order to stay or go. I usually get it to go, but I have eaten there before. The food is prepared relatively quickly with no loss of quality. Come to think of it, I might just have to stop there tonight for dinner. Overall if your in the mood for good sushi but don’t want to do the whole sit down thing at a restaurant, Yogi’s is definitely the place to go.